Buying and Selling a Glider
Owning a Glider
Gliders are owned and operated by clubs, or within a club by one person, or by a syndicate where a number of pilots group together to own a glider. The obvious cost sharing benefits of a syndicate are offset by the need to share the available flying. Talking to other pilot owners provides the best advice on whether or not owning your own glider is the way forward for you.
What type of glider should I buy?
This commonly asked question is best answered by ‘what do you want to achieve in it over the next few years?’ and ‘how much do you want to spend?’. Again, chatting with other glider pilots will help you come to the right decision. The best performing or cheapest glider available is not necessarily the right solution.
If you want to look at carefully assessed design and performance detail for some of the legacy gliders commonly available in the used glider market, take a look at the Dick Johnson flight test reports linked from the SSA website.
Importing a glider
As all new gliders are built outside the UK and the majority of used gliders are for sale outside the UK, there can be the added complication of importing. There a similar considerations when selling a glider.
In most cases, glider syndicates work very well. A written syndicate agreement laying out the way the syndicate will work in a practical and financial sense, including detail such as insurance claims and selling a syndicate share, can be particularly helpful.
Similarly to buying a used car, buying a glider can include traps for the unwary. Seek advice from someone who knows what they are looking for, both physically in respect of condition and completeness of paperwork records.
VAT can catch people out, particularly if importing across the UK border. It is worth researching the applicable VAT situation. The only verified information is on the HMRC website. Also refer to our guidance on changes after EU and EASA-exit here.
Registration / de-registration
As all Part 21 aircraft have to be registered, and each country has its own registration process, advice on registration and registration markings is provided by the CAA. There is specific guidance for syndicates registering aircraft – worth reading.
Get advice before de-registering a glider that you plan to import and re-register in the UK. Unless managed correctly, there can be an airworthiness implication when the glider arrives in the UK.
Don’t forget to contact the BGA before the CAA registration department – it makes obtaining the right registration markings a lot easier.
Where to find gliders for sale
Gliders for sale are advertised in magazines including Sailplane and Gliding, and on web forums such as gliderpilot.net and segelflug.de, and increasingly on social media platforms, eg Facebook.
There is detail you need to comply with, including advising the BGA office about change of ownership.